Police: Woman spent days trying to clean up crime following deadly stabbing in Butler-Tarkington

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UPDATE (Oct. 28, 2019) -- Phyllis Simmons pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. As a result of her plea agreement, the murder charge against her was dismissed. She was sentenced to 17.5 years, with 8 years suspended. She was ordered to serve 6 years in the Department of Correction and 3.5 years in Marion County Community Corrections.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - A 55-year-old Indianapolis woman is accused of murder after a deadly stabbing in Butler-Tarkington.

Police were called to the scene in the 4000 block of Clarendon Rd. on Wednesday, although it appears the killing took place days earlier.

The killing inside marked the first homicide in Butler-Tarkington in more than 950 days, but investigators are quick to point out the case is not the same as the string of murders in the neighborhood back in 2015.

Called to the scene on Wednesday police found 60-year-old Anthony Watts stabbed to death.

“It was just terrible.  It was terrible news,” said Clarence Havvard.  “It was sad to hear that this happened to him.”

Police arrested Phyllis Simmons on a charge of murder after officers claim the 55-year-old confessed by saying, “He put his hands on me and I just went crazy.”

According to the affidavit, Simmons appeared to have spent days cleaning up the crime scene and there were buckets of soapy water and a mop in the bedroom where the victim was found.

Neighbors say Simmons admitted to killing Watts on Monday, but didn't call the police.

Court records also show Watts himself was a facing a different charge of criminal trespass for an incident between the pair in March.

“If they had problems with one another, he still didn’t deserve to be stabbed to death,” said Havvard.

Havvard considered Watts a friend for decades and says the killing hit close to home, because Havvard's son Clarence was shot to death just blocks away in Butler-Tarkington in August 2015 and Havvard's killer has never been caught.

“The pain remains.  It’s sad and it stays with me every day,” said Havvard.

Havvard's death, along with Marshawn Frazier, 10-year-old Deshaun Swanson and Malik Perry in the summer of 2015 led to increased partnerships between the IMPD, Butler-Tarkington residents and the 10 Point Coalition.

“We want to make sure everyone knows this week’s homicide does not go against all the good work being done in that neighborhood,” said IMPD North District Commander Josh Barker.

Commander Barker says this week’s death is much different than the murders in 2015.

“This appears to be domestic related and is not the type of violence the neighborhood saw in 2015, with gang turf wars that were going on at the time,” said Barker.

While an arrest has been made on this week’s case, anyone with information on the unsolved murders from 2015 is still asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

”I hurt every day,” said Havvard.  “It would give me some relief, having some kind of closure.”

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